Astros pitcher and American League allstar Justin Verlander is convinced that baseball’s ongoing surge of home operates is not only the end result of a more aerodynamic baseball, however, could be that the end consequence of a baseball that’s been intentionally juiced during manufacturing so as to produce more crime. Verlander told ESPN on Monday that the ball is”that a fucking joke” and”it isn’t denying” that the ball is flying farther now that its manufacturer is possessed by Major League Baseball.

“It’s a f—ing joke. Major League Baseball’s turning this game in to a joke. They have Rawlings, and you’ve got Manfred up here saying it may be the way in which they center the pill. They have the f—ing company. If every other $40 billion company bought a $400 million company and the product shifted dramatically, it is perhaps not just a figure as to what happened. All of us understand very well what happened. Manfred the first time he arrived, what would he really ever say? He said we need more crime. Out of the blue he comes in, the chunks are juiced? It’s not coincidence. We’re not idiots.” Asked if he felt the balls ended up blatantly juiced by the group, Verlander said:”Yes. 100 percentage. They’ve been using juiced balls in your home Run Derby for ever. They understand how to do it. It’s not coincidence. I believe it is extremely hard to feel that Major League Baseball possesses Rawlings and just coincidentally the chunks eventually become juiced.”

Without any intent, Verlander isn’t wrong in regards to the ball itself. Part of baseball’s ability surge boils to a aerodynamic ball. This necessitates no conspiracy. Several physical modifications to the ball have been detected and measured–you should examine this very cool study of the ball by Dr. Meredith Wills for The Athletic–and the spike in homerun totals is pronounced enough that Manfred himself was forced to concede that the ball probably produces less drag in flight. Manfred said in June the Rawlings hadn’t shifted their manufacturing process”in any meaningful way,” but as Wills reveals, changes that make the ball aerodynamic mightn’t enroll because”purposeful” to a lay person–things like seams which can be lower with a few millimeters, or leather that’s only slightly thinner. Stack several meaningless-seeming changes like that upward, and you’ve got a ball that acts differently in the atmosphere, and not simply off the bat.

Major League Baseball will in fact own Rawlings, but they purchased Rawlings last summer, after MLB was already more than a couple of years into its ongoing spike of dinger totals. This takes several of the end out of the notion that”out of the blue” that the chunks were juiced after MLB took control over their manufacturing. On the other hand, maybe Manfred and MLB were affecting the design specs of game chunks until the league bought Rawlings? If you think that the ball has been intentionally repainted, likely the simple fact that Manfred took over as commissioner a few months before the 2015 season, that saw league-wide dinger totals jump from 701 over the previous season, is persuasive proof of his influence. The purchase of Rawlings isn’t vital to prop up the theory that Manfred and MLB wanted and got a ball that flies easier.

Recognizing that the ball is different, and then answering the question of if baseball wants it that way, will be very important to the role of setting the feats of modern players in proper historical context, which really is just a larger section of baseball than it really is of other North American professional sports. No one much frets over the changes that make football now a very different sport from the game that has been played 60 decades past, or how changes to the principles and the court have inflated or deflated the statistical outputs of modern NBA players compared to people earlier eras. This is just a thornier issue for MLB, that has long taken the position that advancements that make the game more interesting for fans are invalidating perversions. Verlander, as an example, considers that a ball that slips farther turns base-ball”into a joke,” and he is certainly not alone.

The juiced ball can’t totally account for many the dingers–players really are dedicated to launch angle just like not before, slap directional hitting is really discouraged that clubs routinely over-shift their defenses with only occasional negative consequences, and the Baltimore Orioles are a heap of trash. Nevertheless, the new, more aerodynamic ball is definitely a portion of the equation. As that equation is better known, presumably it will get easier to make whatever changes would be necessary for that intent of returning baseball to a previous iteration of it self. The matter will then be perhaps not the way a ball got juiced, but if baseball as it is played in 2019 reflects the preferences of these accountable. The ball may have been inadvertently juiced, but it could sure stay that way purposely.